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Showing posts from February, 2016

Gujarat govt "firewalls" top sites ending gujarat.gov.in for outside India, "fears" of Russian, Chinese spammers

By Rajiv Shah
Is Gujarat government not interested in non-resident Indian (NRI) supporters to officially know what’s happening in Gujarat, propagated as India’s model state? Facts have come light suggesting that the state’s information technology (IT) establishment has firewalled several Gujarat government websites’ access worldwide, except India, for security reasons.
A top Gujarat government insider confirms, this is the handiwork of a decision taken on state websites. He says, "Just checked. For some foolish reason or rank stupidity all sites with gujarat.gov.in have been denied access to outside India. Instead of taking preventive protective action, a ham-handed approach is used. I am amused and startled... In this age!"
It all began when someone from Gujarat, who is now in US, tried accessing the state finance department site, http://financedepartment.gujarat.gov.in/, on the day the state budget was presented in the state assembly, February 23. “I was shocked”, the NRI sai…

India a poor spender of social safety net at 0.72% of GDP as against developing countries' average of 1.6%

By Rajiv Shah
Contrary to the notion spread by free market economists close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who believe huge state funds are being “wasted away” on social safety net programmes meant to benefit the poor, a World Bank report says, India spends just about 0.72 per cent of the Gross National Product (GDP) on them.
As against this, the report states, “developing countries spend an average of 1.6 per cent of GDP on social safety net programmes”, adding, “Low-income and middle-income countries devote approximately the same level of resources to social safety nets (1.5 and 1.6 percent of GDP, respectively), while richer countries spend 1.9 percent of GDP on average.”
The report – which identifies India as a “lower middle income group” country – finds that all other BRICS countries, except China, spend a higher proportion of funds on social safety net. Thus, Brazil spends 2.42 per cent, Russia 3.30 per cent, China 0.70 per cent, South Africa 3.51 per cent, and South Africa 3.51…

Housing shortage 19 million units; units lying idle 11 million: "Paradox" of India's urban growth paradigm

By Rajiv Shah
India’s urban housing shortage, which was estimated to be 18.78 million units by 2012-end, is expected to grow by a “compound annual growth rate of 6.6 per cent over the next decade, the Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) has said, adding, 95 per cent of this shortage is of the economically weaker sections (EWS) and lower income group (LIG).
A network of housing rights NGOs across India, HLRN, in a study released recently, has says that while India’s total number of housing shortage will reach 38 million units by 2030, “over 70 per cent of migrants are least likely to afford a house at market prices.”
The study, a status report titled “Housing and Land Rights in India”, further estimates that while “more than 30 per cent increase in Tier I and Tier II cities”, the Tier IV cities “will also witness an acute shortage of affordable housing as these cities will account for 60 per cent of the gap between affordability and the market rate.”
Tier- I cities are those with a po…

"OBC-isation" of BJP, rise of OBC neo-middle class in Gujarat: Trends Congress can ignore at its own peril

By Rajiv Shah
A fresh study by top French scholar Christophe Jaffrelot should serve as a warning signal to those who believe the BJP would "lose" the 2017 Gujarat state assembly elections. Basing on shifting Other Backward Class (OBC) voter base data compiled by him, Jaffrelot believes, despite a little erosion in the BJP’s middle class upper caste base, there has been a clear “OBC-isation of BJP”, suggesting a new political trend in Gujarat.
Pointing to the formation of a ‘neo-middle class’ consisting of OBC migrants in urban and semi-urban areas, his paper “What ‘Gujarat Model’?: Growth without Development – and with Socio-Political Polarisation” says that the BJP was “traditionally associated with upper castes and Patels”, but things changed in 2012 assembly elections when it played caste politics.
Fighting the elections under Narendra Modi, according to the expert, in 2012 polls, the “main achievement” of the BJP came from the inroads the BJP made in the traditional OBC vo…

UN study "contradicts" Make in India claim: Urban population growth to slow down in decades to come

By Rajiv Shah
A recent United Nations report predicts that, contrary to Government of India claims that Make in India campaign will boost urbanization, the country’s urban population is unlikely to grow fast enough. The report says, in 2014, India had 32.4 per cent population living in urban areas, and it will rise to 50.3 per cent by 2050, the pace of growth is likely to go down, and will be far away from the world average.
The data in the report show that, in fact, the pace of urbanization in India has been going down ever since the 1970s, when the annual rate of change of urban population peaked 3.94 per cent, the highest in a decade. In 1980s the rate of change 3.24 per cent, in 1990s it was 2.65 per cent, and in 2000s it was 2.60 per cent.
In the current decade 2010s, the data show, the rate of change urban population in India would be 2.36 per cent, and the deceleration in the growth rate would continue till 2050, the report predicts. In 2020s it would be 2.16 per cent, in 2030s 1.…

India losing out heavily on GDP due to gender inequality: Rating "comparable" to Middle-East, North Africa

By Rajiv Shah
A recently-released study by one of the world’s most prestigious consultants, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), has estimated that women in India contribute just 17 percent to the Gross National Product (GDP) as against 37 percent global average, as a result of which the country is losing out 1.4 per cent in terms of annual GDP growth.
The study says that, if India were to achieve its “full potential” of gender equity, the country could add an annual GDP to the tune of $2.9 trillion by 2025, which is 60 percent higher compared to what it calls "business-as-usual case."
However, as achieving "full potential" is not possible, MGI report, titled "The Power of Parity: Advancing Women's Equality in India", says, it has worked out another scenario, called "best in region scenario"gender equity, under which India can possibly could "boost annual GDP by $0.7 trillion, or 16 percent, in 2025 compared with a business-as-usual case, addi…